Gift #1049: Promise of a Savior

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.  Genesis 3:15

 The Lord himself will give you the sign. Behold! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).  Is. 7:14

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.  But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”  Matthew 1:18-23

Today’s selection of scripture starts at the very beginning.  Right after the first sin destroys God’s perfect creation and our perfect relationship with God, God promises that One will be coming from a woman to deal a lethal blow to our enemy, the deceiver and author of sin.  Although there is separation from God and consequences to our sin, He does not leave us without hope nor does He leave us alone.  A Savior is coming.  The promise is passed on through hundreds of generations, echoed in millions of sacrifices, clung to through times of security and disaster.  The promise surfaces again on the lips of the prophet Isaiah on the brink of another national threat.  Isaiah tells the king that their God will protect them and be their eternal Provider.  The sign of God’s promise is the birth of a child.  And with this promise, the child is finally Named – He will be Immanuel.  God Himself will be with us.  God Himself will be the promised Savior.  Hundreds more years pass in a tumultuous history of God’s interactions with His faithless people.  Mired in sin, enamored with every idol, and crushed by their enemies, God’s people certainly stand in need of a Savior.

The fragile promise is all but forgotten in hopelessness. It has been centuries since a prophet spoke with a message from God offering deliverance.  And then divine silence is pierced with a baby’s cry.  No more prophets will ever be needed because God Himself has entered history and speaks to us.  The Immortal One takes on flesh and fulfills His word.  He is with us.  And He has come to save us from our sin.  Echoing the first utterance of His promise, God is coming to undo the disobedience of Adam.  His perfect life will stand in place of our imperfection.  Through His death, He will take our sin as His and give us His righteousness instead.  In His resurrection sin’s path of destruction is halted and turned into a road of salvation.  This week we’ll look at several facets of what Christ’s coming means for us, but all of it hinges here – as our Promised Savior.  He has come to save, to rescue, to restore, to heal, to give freedom, to bring us to Himself.  This truth has the power to change each heart, the world, and the course of history because God has spoken, He has promised, and He has given Himself.

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Blessings to you,

Sarah

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